As part of Friday’s lineup, we are going to do a weekly ranking of the award races in the NBA.With the year just starting and only three games to look at, here is what I scribbled down Tuesday night before the games started. These will update week to week depending on how players are doing, and whether we think anyone should jump into the rankings.
Most Valuable Player
1. Lebron James, Miami Heat
2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
3. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
4. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
5. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
-For the first time in many years, I don’t see a reason to rank Kobe Bryant. Lebron James is the obvious choice here for number one. He is the best player in the world right now, and the Heat are completely built around him. Kevin Durant has a chance to prove how valuable he is now that Harden is gone. Another scoring title at least warrants a discussion. Paul and Rondo are the generals of their team, and the assist title will come down to them and Steve Nash. Their individual team’s success and who wins that title could decide who finishes above one another. I originally had Kevin Love on this list, but his injury knocks him down. Still, if the Timberwolves make a playoff appearance, it will be because of Love.
Rookie of the Year
1. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets
2. Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers
3. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats
4. Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
-Davis looked nothing like a Rookie in his first start, and his time with the Olympic team obviously helped. He has to be the obvious number one choice. Lillard has had all the preseason hype however, and looked great in the preseason. I see him and MKD as the only challengers. Kidd-Gilchrist is an athletic freak, and shows all the makings of being a premier two way player in this league. The Bobcats soon will be counting on him to put up 20 a game and shut down the others team’s scorer. Waiters and Drummond are a long way away in 4th or 5th, but both have alot of upside on bad teams.
Defensive Player Of the Year
1. Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers
2. Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies
3. Lebron James, Miami Heat
4. Andre Iguodala, Denver Nuggets
5. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets
-As long as Howard stays healthy, this is his award to lose. He will be the anchor of that Lakers defense, which well, hasn’t been that great so far. Tony Allen never gets the respect he deserves, so we are going to give it to him here. He is arguably the best on-ball defender in the game. Lebron should always be in the category for his sheer athleticism, and the same goes for Iguodala. Simply put, when offenses plan around you, you are a good defender. I put Davis in the 5th spot because he is going to change the defensive culture of the Hornets. While stats are by no means indicative of who should when DPOY, he is going to put up big defensive numbers and should be in the conversation.
Most Improved Player
1. Paul George, Indiana Pacers
2. Kwahi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
3. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriots
4. Omar Asik, Houston Rockets
5. Eric Bledsoe, Los Angeles Clippers
-George and Leonard are at the top of their list because of the jump in minutes they are going to get this year. I don’t think George is as good as everyone thinks he is going to be, but he is going to be much better than last year. Klay Thompson is also going to get starter minutes, and if Curry’s ankles give out once again, well, someones going to have to score for Golden State. Asik is going to flourish in the Rocket’s system. It is built around Harden and Lin, but he is going to be the third scorer. All of those points are going to come off put backs and second chance points. Bledsoe should get more minutes, and has shown to provide a great change of pace for the Clippers.
1. Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls
2. Frank Vogel, Indiana Pacers
3. Avery Johnson, Brooklyn Nets
4. George Karl, Denver Nuggets
5. Monty Williams, New Orleans Hornets
If the Bulls make the playoffs and go anywhere with Rose for half the year(or more), Thibs deserves this award with the roster he’ll be working with. The same could be said for Vogel, with Granger hurt as well. While Granger is not Rose, if the Pacers can get past the Heat or Celtics in the playoffs without him he should deserve some recognition. Johnson will get alot of press with the opening of Brooklyn, which could lead to some votes if he gets success. If Karl can get the Nuggets to the finals, he deserves this award. They have never been there. Monty Williams could have the biggest turnaround for a team, in which he deserves some recognition.
1. Ray Allen, Miami Heat
2. Louis Williams, Atlanta Hawks
3. Jason Terry, Boston Celtics
4. Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers
5. MarShawn Brooks, Brooklyn Nets
-If Ray Allen stays healthy, he deserves this award. He is going to score 15 plus in a Miami system. Pride of Atlanta Lou Williams has said before how excited he is to play for his hometown team. I think Lou more than lives up to his contract on a Hawks team that is going to surprise some people. Terry has to be on this list just because he has made a living come off the bench, and the same goes for Crawford. MarShawn Brooks could be the X-factor on this Nets team. He has the talent to be a starter on alot of teams, and should climb up these rankings.
We hope you had as much fun as we did with the first week of Pick and Pop. We will have some more great stuff for you tomorrow, and a live blog on one of Sunday’s games! Until next time, here is your amazing NBA YouTube Clip!